Tom Waits – The Heart Of Saturday Night

I was just browsing in the record store while I had some time to kill, I browsed for just under an hour and picked up lots of things before putting them back having changed my mind, then I saw ‘The Heart Of Saturday Night’ by Tom Waits and it was the one. I had played the CD to death and a vinyl copy was a must really.

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This is the Rhino Re-Issue of the 1974 album, his second release, which they appear to have done a good job of. I played it as soon as I got home, it’s a brilliant album which I make no excuses or justifications for. I’ve read previously that it’s a late night album, the sort of thing you’d play at a poker night when he lights are low and the cigars are out. Not true. Play it whenever the hell you feel like it because the songwriting is damn near perfect.  Yes, the title itself suggests that it’s a night time album and the laid back feel of it makes me almost smell that cigar smoke, but it’s 2 pm on a Wednesday and I’m listening to it now , so don’t save it for the night. I do rather fancy a bourbon right now though.

Tracklist

A1 New Coat Of Paint
A2 San Diego Serenade
A3 Semi Suite
A4 Shiver Me Timbers
A5 Diamonds On My Windshield
A6 (Looking For) The Heart Of Saturday Night
B1 Fumblin’ With The Blues
B2 Please Call Me, Baby
B3 Depot, Depot
B4 Drunk On The Moon
B5 The Ghosts Of Saturday Night (After Hours At Napoleone’s Pizza House)

When I listen to this album it evokes a very real sense to me of what Charles Bukowski would have sounded like if he had been a singer/songwriter rather than a writer/poet/hell raiser. Perhaps also some Jack Kerouac in there as well, particularly around ‘Diamonds on My Windshield’:

Well these diamonds on my windshield
And these tears from heaven
Well I’m pulling into town on the Interstate
I got a steel train in the rain
And the wind bites my cheek through the wing
And it’s these late nights and this freeway flying
It always makes me sing

 

If you don’t have it I’d recommend getting it, vinyl, CD, Digital, it doesn’t matter, give it a listen.

Bring Back The Old Grey Whistle Test

I miss OGWT, there is nothing like it on TV today, in fact, music in general is sadly under represented on TV nowadays. BBC Four and Sky Arts have the odd programme that is worth a watch but so much is a load of talking heads being nostalgic interspersed with too short clips. MTV should re-brand itself, Music Television it is not.

OGWT was the album version of Top of the Pops. The 45’s appeared on TOTP but it was 33 1/3 on OGWT and much the better for it. The first time I ever saw the show was in the Seventies, when presented by ‘Whispering’ Bob Harris, who it is fair to say, had difficulties with the punk scene around 1977 as it developed on independent label 45’s on bob_1943392cnot on the major labels, and not albums. He left in 1978, or was more likely moved on, to be replaced by Annie Nightingale, who I thought did a marvellous job of presenting the show. Not so her replacements though. From 1982 the show was presented variously by  Andy Kershaw, David Hepworth, Mark Ellen and Richard Skinner but I never really took to them. Not that there was anything I could put my finger on about them exactly, I think it was more to do with it being different from what I had first seen and I never really got used to it.

There were some amazing performances on this show, the sort of thing you couldn’t really see anywhere else at the time. I put the following forward as an example (and don’t forget, there were only 3 TV channels available in 1973):

Where else could you see this? I would suggest nowhere. I had a look at a 1973 top 30 chart run down, 29 white acts and the Detroit Spinners at number 10 (Gary glitter was number 1, oh dear) and not just that, the style of music wasn’t really represented either, along with others. Here’s the chart run down which you can see for yourself if you like:

Although unless you are already immune to the cheesiness of Tony Blackburn it might be better not to watch it.

There is a huge amount of music out there currently which is massively under represented. I know we have youtube and other places to view things now, but I have always liked a show, properly structured, along the lines of ..Later With Jools Holland but including some documentary and on location films. The OGWT could really fill that gap.

Here are some performances from the show that I’ve liked, not all of them, there are loads, just some:

There’s a list of who was on which show here if you are interested:

http://www.edensongs.com/recordings/setlists_3/OGWT_AllInfo.txt

#bringbackOGWT